Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian political leader and a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), strongly denounced the Australian decision to end its aid to the Palestinian people.

In a statement, Dr. Ashrawi said, “it is clear Australia has surrendered to American pressures, and is now acting on boosting the illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestine.”

She added that this decision makes Australia part of the punitive illegal measures, targeting the Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails, and their families.

“This unfair decision targets our besieged and impoverished people,” Dr. Ashrawi stated, “It also deliberately ignores the ongoing Israeli violations, and war crimes against our unarmed population.”

The Palestinian official added that Article 81of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, outlaws such measures, and obliges the parties of conflict to provide free medical care and prohibit the deduction of “allowances and salaries.” It also prohibits the deduction of allowances needed to repay their costs.

|Parties to the conflict who intern protected persons shall be bound to provide free of charge for their maintenance, and to grant them also the medical attention required by their state of health.

No deduction from the allowances, salaries or credits due to the internees shall be made for the repayment of these costs.

The Detaining Power shall provide for the support of those dependent on the internees, if such dependents are without adequate means of support or are unable to earn a living.|

Dr. Ashrawi also said: “I would like to remind the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, that the situation remains the same since the beginning of this Israeli military occupation in 1948; Israel is still brutally attacking the Palestinians, committing war crimes and massacres, killed at least 75.000 of them, and held more than 1.000.000 in its prisons since then.”

“The Palestinian leadership is very concerned about the accusations that it practices ‘politically motivated violence,’ while we have been committed to nonviolent resistance, and political efforts at the United Nations, trying to counter this Israeli terror against our people…

Meanwhile, Israel continues its crimes with impunity; its soldiers and settlers continue to kill our people, and steal their lands, continue to demolish their homes and livelihoods, and we are expected, and even ordered, to remain silent and submit to this occupation!”

Dr. Ashrawi urged Australia to reconsider its decision, and to refrain from encouraging Israel’s unilateral and illegal policies, and to act on “obliging Israel, as an occupying power, to abide by its obligations under International Law, International Humanitarian Law, in addition to all related treaties and resolutions.”